This is part of a series entitled “Lemon Law: 5 Things You Should Know.” It is written by Sergei Lemberg, who is an attorney who specializes in lemon law. His site, Lemon Justice, offers detailed information about lemon laws, as well as an interactive Lemon Meter for consumers who want to see if their vehicle qualifies as a lemon.

With the federal government bailing out Wall Street, it’s natural for people to be frustrated and angry about the impact that this “rescue package” will – or will not – have on the financial struggles they’re facing. What many people don’t realize is that there are existing laws can help ease their economic burden.

For example, if you bought a car in the past year or two, it may be tough to find the money to make payments. If that car turns out to be defective, you’re faced with a double whammy – car payments and repair bills. Thankfully, every state in the U.S. has what’s called a “lemon law,” designed to protect consumers who have unknowingly purchased defective vehicles. But pursuing your lemon rights does mean actively engaging in conflict.

Although every state law is different, common themes run through them. New cars are always covered (though the definition of “new” varies), and motorcycles, RVs, and used cars are sometimes covered. There’s also a timeframe involved (for example, the defects have to occur within the first two years or 24,000 miles), and a required number of repair attempts (three times for the same problem, for example).

If you think that your vehicle may qualify as a lemon under your state’s law, it’s important to know your rights and meet conflict head on. When you do, you could qualify for a refund, a replacement vehicle, or a financial settlement. Consulting a lemon law attorney shouldn’t cost you a penny, since most states require that the automaker pay for consumers’ legal costs.